Black Widow: Red Vengeance Hardcover Book Review
The Spy Who Bored Me.
Having previously penned the novel “Black Widow: Forever Red,” author Margaret Stohl (perhaps best known as the co-author of the “Beautiful Creatures” series) steps back into the Marvel Universe with a new book titled “Black Widow: Red Vengeance.” In this globe-trotting adventure story that is primarily set in Brazil and New York, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff (AKA Black Widow) and young S.H.I.E.L.D. rookie agent Ava (also known as the Red Widow) are looking for Alexei’s (Natasha’s brother and Ava’s love) murderer and are trying to destroy the late Ivan’s Red Room network. As they embark on their investigation, they run into all sorts of problems including someone connected to Ivan, a mystery woman, hackers, killer drugs, nuclear missiles, and a deadly chemical weapon attack. Is there more going on than just that? Are there twists and turns? Absolutely, but less is more in terms of a description here. Note: The novel also contains transcript and Eyes Only “files” that tie into the story.
We all know Black Widow is a bad-ass Russian spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent character who should have her own MCU film by now (seriously, get on that, Marvel). However, it is nice to see her being the focus of other stories including this new novel. Unfortunately, I wish the book better serviced the character.
Having not read “Black Widow: Forever Red,” I cannot compare or contrast the two novels, but after reading “Black Widow: Red Vengeance,” I can’t say I am in a hurry to read the previous novel. Sure, this YA novel has moments to admire such as appearances by Avengers members, the inclusion of an often amusing Coulson, and a darker take on Black Widow than what some might be used to, but it’s not enough. For the most part, ‘Red Vengeance’ is an overlong read with its slow to get going story, techno babble, drug out action scenes, an irritating main character who constantly doubts herself and apparently talks to a dead person (I am referring to Ava here) and some really dopey elements like a flaming Harley, monkey selfies, lightsaber esque blades, and the quantum entanglement (don’t ask). Now, perhaps I am just used to the storytelling style and pacing of a comic book story or a film featuring Black Widow, but I think the character and her world loses something in novel form. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but the character was born in a visual medium. Seeing her actions and missions simply work better than tedious descriptions of them.
Overall Thoughts: It’s possible I may be in the minority with “Black Widow: Red Vengeance,” but this story just didn’t click for me.
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